Imperial College London

Dr James A Bull

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Reader in Synthetic Chemistry



+44 (0)20 7594 5811j.bull Website




501bMolecular Sciences Research HubWhite City Campus





Dr James A Bull is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Reader in Synthetic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry.

Dr Bull’s research focuses on the development of efficient synthetic and catalytic methods to access novel structural motifs and heterocycles of interest in drug discovery.


James is awarded the 2021 AstraZeneca Prize for Synthetic Chemistry, as covered in this Chemistry World article.

For group news, see: @jamesabull and

Biographical details

James Bull graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2001 with a First Class Honours MSci degree in Natural Sciences, Chemistry and the Raphael Prize for Organic Chemistry. He then spent a year working at GlaxoSmithKline Stevenage as a Research Scientist in the Medicinal Chemistry Department.

He returned to Cambridge in 2003 to undertake PhD research with Professor Steven V Ley. He completed the total synthesis of bisoxazole antifungal natural product bengazole A and analogues.

In 2007 he joined the group of Professor André B. Charette as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Université de Montréal, Canada. Here he developed an intramolecular Simmons-Smith cyclopropanation reaction.

In 2009 he began independent research at Imperial College London as a Ramsay Memorial Research Fellow (2009-2011), working in the laboratories of Professor Alan Armstrong. From 2011 to 2015 Dr Bull held an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship on "Novel strategies to access chiral heterocycles as potential lead compounds in drug discovery". In January 2016 Dr Bull started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

JB was awarded RSC/BMOS Young Investigator Award (2015), Eli Lilly OIDD Award for Outstanding Contribution to Compound Screening (2015), Thieme Chemistry Journal Award (2016), and the AstraZeneca Prize in Synthetic Chemistry (2021).



Rojas JJ, Bull J, 2023, Oxetanes in drug discovery campaigns, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, ISSN:0022-2623

Antermite D, White A, Casarrubios L, et al., 2023, On the mechanism and selectivity of palladium catalyzed C(sp3)–H arylation of pyrrolidines and piperidines at unactivated C4 positions: discovery of an improved dimethylamino-quinoline amide directing group, Acs Catalysis, Vol:13, ISSN:2155-5435, Pages:9597-9615

Saejong P, Rojas JJ, Denis C, et al., 2023, Synthesis of oxetane and azetidine ethers as ester isosteres by Brønsted acid catalysed alkylation of alcohols with 3-aryl-oxetanols and 3-aryl-azetidinols, Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, Vol:21, ISSN:1477-0520, Pages:5553-5559

Higham J, Ma T, Bull J, 2023, Dual copper and aldehyde catalyzed transient C-H sulfonylation of benzylamines, Organic Letters, Vol:25, ISSN:1523-7052, Pages:5285-5290

Dubois M, Rojas J, Broderick H, et al., 2023, Visible light photoredox-catalyzed decarboxylative alkylation of 3-aryl-oxetanes and azetidines via benzylic tertiary radicals and implications of benzylic radical stability, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Vol:88, ISSN:0022-3263, Pages:6476-6488

More Publications